Posted by psgels on 24 December 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni


Some reviews are easier to write than others. With Higurashi, it’s going to be difficult, though, simply because of the huge contrast between the first and the second season. The fact also remains that this is one of these series that’s better than the sum of its parts. First, let me say that if you were interested in the concept of Higurashi, just to see “killer lolis” and cute girls, killing each other, then you will be disappointed. Sure, this is a disturbing series, but Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is so much more than a bunch of random massacres.

The first season is basically one incredibly well-developed mystery-series with lots and I mean lots of horror. Throughout six arcs, you see the different characters, as they discover more and more of the complex, multi-layered plot that forms the foundation of this series, while countless false tracks and red herrings are put on the screen, in order to confuse the viewer. You’ll never know who to trust at this point, and the same goes for the characters. There may be a few annoying moments here and there, including some pacing-issues, but overall it’s an intense and diverse thriller that keeps you hungry for more amidst the brutality.

And then the second season comes, and it’s completely different. The first season went so fast that it often didn’t leave any time for quiet moments and character-development; it sometimes went too fast that it nearly tripped, and then the second season comes and fixes this. The pacing continues at a very slow pace, but because of this, there is enough time to flesh out the different characters, to explain everything that need to be said about the story, and to build up for an incredibly solid finale. The characters actually start to realize that their bloodstained hands were a huge mistake, and they try to escape the horror. There’s also an incredibly huge emphasis on friendship and trust.

Obviously, the second season is less exciting to watch, but instead, the first season is less heart-warming. The second season is quite slow, while the first season thunders through its storyline to get it finished in time. Obviously, when you look at the individual elements, things feel strange, and for most people, it’s going to be hard to get used to the completely new road that the second season went into.

But boy, if you start looking at it from a distance, the entire package becomes so much better. In terms of storytelling, the story is closed off perfectly, even though there still is a third season on the way. It knows exactly how to build up well, and the storytelling for especially the second season has been flawless.

All in all, Higurashi is inconsistent, but it’s one heck of a special series. The cast of characters and the setting is definitely memorable, and there are more than enough different moments that make you care about them. Just one piece of advice: when watching episode 17, try not to eat or drink anything. You’ll understand when you watch it.

3 Responses

  1. anne says:

    I loved the series and never had a hard time getting into the 2nd season. Even with it’s slowness, it still had some shockingly gruesome and horrible moments. I guess I can see why people wouldn’t like it because it’s nothing like the first. But to me the strength of the show lies within the characters. If you love the characters you want to know the whys behind their actions. That is where the 2nd season really shines. Overall, it was a great show. I think the end was a bit too comical at times but I have no real complaints. It’s amazing storytelling and everything is so complete. The Higurashi team really redeemeded themselves with the 2nd season in terms of story telling.

  2. gsilver says:

    I recently saw this, and I didn’t like the second season nearly as much as the first. Too much ‘checklist’-mode, too much of Rika’s dialog felt off to me, too slow, too over-the-top in a lot of ways (not that the first season wasn’t, just in different and harder-to-accept ways).

    I also didn’t feel terribly attached to the characters, which is probably why our opinions differ so much on the second season. If I were enthralled by the character development (and yes, there is a lot of good stuff), the other issues wouldn’t overshadow it.

    Purely looking at the first season, it is very incomplete, yet the second season still doesn’t complement it nearly as well as it should.

    I loved the Rei OAV, though. That Hanyuu is tricky, ain’t she?

  3. Gerdano says:

    Many might dissagree with me but they kept babbling on about friendship and trust, in the end it became annoying. In the middle of the second season it kept repeating on about the (SPOOOOOOIIIIIILLLLLLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRR)
    child welfare saying no and stuff, which sucked, other than that part of the second season it was great, especially the way they tell u why all the acts were commited. I really liked how much of the different story arcs could, atleast a bit, relate to eachother and….. KEICHII FOREVAH. Lol just had to.

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  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:14 AM)
    @Bam Slightly. Did americans use manifest destiny as an excuse to steal land from the natives?
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 03:05 AM)
    @Vincent: I guess we were slightly more honest about it. It is funny how we use the fact after the matter as evidence of our divine providence. It’s like holding a gun to somebody and saying “fate wants you to die”, proceed to shoot them, and then say “see! I was right” lol
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:56 AM)
    @Bam But unlike the american concept of manifest destiny, the Japanese used it as an excuse to wage what they were really doing: a war to hoard resources.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:52 AM)
    @Vincent: I see. A similar doctrine to Manifest Destiny.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:49 AM)
    @Bam Not to my knowledge. From the government, at least. It was always about expanding the glory of the homeland or something like that, which is why the Japanese took glee with the invasion of Manchuria and the Philippines, places they had no ethnic ties to.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:46 AM)
    *admitably
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:46 AM)
    @Vincent: I am admirably not too knowledgeable when it comes to the history of that region, but I still know that atrocities were committed.
    The interesting thing is that Japnese believe that their ancestors actually came from Korea. I wonder if this fact was ever used as a propaganda for why they have the right to annex Korea.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:40 AM)
    @Bam There also was the fractures within the Korean Peninsula itself. Quite astounding, really, that a nation as small as Korea is divided to this day. Not even counting the Japanese and Chinese aggression.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:39 AM)
    @Vincent: you probably know of it twinfold: both with the aborigines and then again with the Japanese invasion of Korea.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:37 AM)
    Then came the missionaries to convert the locals and make them forget their own culture and heritage and instead follow the words of their newly crowned white lord and savior. And to this day the region is predominately hardcore Catholic. Mission accomplished I would say.

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